The California Office of Traffic Safety anticipates a significant drop in traffic fatalities for 2009. That mirrors a national trend reflected in a report released by the US Department of Transportation last week. While the final figures for 2009 will not be available until in the year, there is a projected 8.9% drop in highway fatalities across the nation.
California saw a 14% drop in traffic deaths between 2007 and 2008, and expects a further reduction in the 2009 figures.
The drop in fatalities is attributable to a number of factors, including enhanced California DUI patrols, a California drunk driving reporting system and increased sobriety checkpoints. Approximately one third of state fatalities reportedly involve alcohol. The reduction in fatalities is also reflective of increased safety in newer vehicles and the fact that motorists are driving less in the troubled economy.
California authorities are currently evaluating how state bans on cell phone use without a hands-free device and texting while driving will affect the number of highway deaths.
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